Boris Johnson yet to visit flood-hit areas despite trips during general election

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has yet to visit any flood-hit areas this year despite twice heading to places affected by adverse weather during the general election campaign.

The Prime Minister has also resisted calls to chair a meeting of the Government's emergency committee, Cobra, to tackle the crisis.

He convened such a meeting in response to severe flooding in Yorkshire and the East Midlands in November, in the middle of the election campaign.

Mr Johnson is not expected to visit any flood-hit areas on Monday, but Downing Street said he was being kept updated about events as he worked from Chevening, the country retreat usually used by the Foreign Secretary.

Asked why Mr Johnson was not personally visiting areas hit by the recent storms, a Number 10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister will receive regular updates on this.

"It's right that Defra and the Secretary of State for the Environment are leading on this."

The PM made visits to Matlock in Derbyshire and Fishlake, near Doncaster, during the election campaign last November.

Britain has been battered by two storms over the last two weekends – with Storm Ciara bringing flooding to the North of England, and Storm Dennis causing severe flooding in South Wales.

Dennis lashed the country with 90mph winds over the weekend and drenched some places with more than a month's worth of rain in 48 hours.

The infrastructure watchdog said the Government needs to go further than its commitment to invest £4 billion over the next five years.

Labour leadership candidate Sir Keir Starmer said it was an "appalling decision" not to hold a Cobra meeting.

"The recent flooding is a stark reminder that the Government is not doing enough to get to grips with the climate crisis," he tweeted.

"Ministers should be taking a lead on this situation, not ducking their responsibilities.

"I would urge the Prime Minister to reconsider this decision and give communities the support they need to deal with the horrendous flooding."

Dame Kate Barker, of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: "This weekend's flooding highlights the challenge the UK faces from severe weather, which will only get worse with climate change.

"We must plan ahead to reduce the devastating effects of flooding on households, communities and our economy, but too often our approach feels like we're playing catch-up with the weather.

"Government has committed to invest £4 billion over the next five years, but needs to go further.

"In our National Infrastructure Assessment in 2018, we recommended a national standard of resilience to flooding, to focus attention on delivering the long-term solutions required, including traditional flood defences, green infrastructure and better spatial planning.

"We expect Government to take decisive action in its forthcoming National Infrastructure Strategy to mitigate the risks we face."